How to use Outbrain for your business
If you’re here, we’ll assume you’ve seen one of those sponsored story posts at the end of one news site or another and wondered how it works.
It’s fairly simple to be honest, but it opens up the ability to put your advert in front of billions (yes billions) of people each day.
Remember when people in your industry used to place an ad in the local rag? Get a few hundred thousand eyeballs and hope for the best?
Outbrain (and others) enable you to do this on mass, in real time and generate a skip full of customers in minutes if you’re good.
Below is a long-winded description of how Outbrain works, if we’re being honest, it’s only there to get this page ranking on Google and get people like you coming to this page.
Our speciality is generating customers online for us, our businesses and our clients.
If you’re intrigued as to how Outbrain can help your business, give us a call.
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The long-winded stuff…
Internet marketing is currently and will always be one of the most incredible marketing channels, holding a massive potential for businesses to grow substantially across a multitude of options.
With millions of people browsing the internet every day, there are endless opportunities to reach out to thousands of potential clients and get your company known.
Research has shown that 90% of purchase decisions start with a Google search, over 3.5 billion searches take place on Google every day, and with constant advances in technology and internet access, these figures are not likely to change any time soon.
With so many advances in algorithms and technology, there is also the fantastic opportunity to aim your advertising towards your target audience, ensuring that your marketing budget is well spent and optimised on the people who are most likely to convert.
But how are you going to get noticed amongst the sheer amount of competitive content on the internet?
Whatever industry you are in, you can be sure that you will find yourself up against some massive companies and Google giants.
Many companies are opting to invest in their internet marketing campaigns as top priority, simply due to the importance of this side of their business.
Outbrain offers a new innovative internet marketing method to get your company seen, and help towards your company outreach and progression.
When used correctly, Outbrain can be a leg up to success for your online visibility and company success.
However, if your campaigns are not optimised in the correct way, you can end up wasting a lot of money and your business could quickly go down the drain.
What is Outbrain?
Outbrain is an online advertising agency.
Outbrain operate on the assumption that many people browse the internet in an opportunistic way, meaning that they may be casually browsing for information or shopping, however these people have the potential to also get distracted and click on something which they see on the site.
They probably describe themselves better than most…
Of course, we can all agree that online advertisements can get annoying.
However, when you are shown something that you may potentially have an interest in, they become less so, and more people will click on them.
Outbrain ensure that the advertisements they create are targeted towards people who will be more likely to have an interest in them.
This involves using behavioural targeting, which means that advertisements appear on peoples’ browsers based on their previous searches and interests.
This means that Outbrain advertisements are more likely to be well received and clicked on, ultimately ensuring a better conversion rate for the advertiser.
This type of advertising method is referred to as content discovery, and was first used by Outbrain in 2006, who claim to be the first company who made a success from this innovative marketing strategy.
Statistics presented on the Outbrain website reveal that their advertisements reach more than half a billion people globally each month, and 80% of successful businesses use Outbrain as part of their online marketing strategy to increase their visibility.
Outbrain also operate from 17 offices based globally in countries including the UK, the US, Brazil and Japan.
With so much success in a relatively short time frame, it is clear to see that Outbrain have got the right idea when it comes to their own strategy, but how does it all work?
How Outbrain works
Websites who want to up their onsite visibility and increase the traffic to their website pay Outbrain to post advertisements on websites when people from their target audience visit.
Outbrain then pay website publishers a fee for advertising on their website. The fee which is obtained by the publishers is unknown, but it is clearly thought to be sizeable enough for the publishing websites to be interested despite the potential of leading a percentage of their visitors away from their own site.
Outbrain’s algorithm analyses the content on your website, categorises it, and displays it to their advertiser’s target audience based on their online behaviour.
Outbrain uses algorithms to collect information on the links which internet browsers have previously searched for, and then target people who have previously searched for similar terms and could be interested in the products and services which are provided by the advertisers.
For example, if a person looked at an article about the best wedding dresses for your body shape, and then proceeded to search for an unrelated article such as a news article on Fox News, they may be shown an advertisement for a wedding dress shop.
The advertisements which are presented on publishing websites are displayed inconspicuously, and could often be mistaken as original editorial content of that same website.
It could be targeted with phrases such as ‘You may also like’ and ‘Recommended for you’, to entice potential clients of the paying advertiser.
What can Outbrain do for me?
Outbrain are currently one of the most extensive marketing platforms for companies who are looking to expand via their online presence.
What’s more, the importance of online marketing is not looking likely to reduce any time soon, since online purchasing is becoming more and more popular and people are beginning to rely on deliveries of their necessities and more.
The main aims of companies who use Outbrain for their advertising services is to increase their online traffic, and draw interest towards your website.
This could be for lead generation, to get more sign-ups, or to encourage people to opt for free trials.
Outbrain claim that they are able to generate interest from people who are really likely to convert, by using algorithms to show the target audience what they have to offer.
This type of advertising is much more likely to prove successful than marketing which is not aimed towards the target audience, because your costs for the marketing are more likely to see a return on investment.
Advertising methods which you are less able to target, such as television adverts are usually less lucrative than targeted ones because the vast majority of people who see a television advert will not have any interest whatsoever.
Whereas Outbrain research the target audience and ensure that your marketing is only aimed towards those who are likely to be interested.
Outbrain also aim towards people who are already engaged with what they are reading on the internet, and are therefore more likely to be thinking about what they are clicking on.
The advertising method Outbrain use is not only targeted towards people who are likely to be interested in your company, but is also an opportunistic way of targeting people, meaning that the people who see your advertisements may not have had any other opportunity to go to your website if they had not already heard of your company.
For this reason, even if the people who see your website do not click on the content you have presented, your branding will still be heightened, and potential clients may remember your brand and trust it more in the next instance of searching for it.
Where do I start?
So you’ve decided that an Outbrain advertising campaign is worth investing in, and you’re ready to get started on our next step to success.
But where do you start?
The first thing to do is to head over to the Outbrain website and set up your campaigns.
There, you will be able to set up a campaign so that you can test whether or not it’s right for you.
You will be able to pick certain settings so that you can optimise your campaign.
One of the settings you can choose is whether to go with an RSS piece of content or a handpicked piece.
The RSS option in which Outbrain will distribute your content on the advertising feed. This option proves to be useful when your campaign gets going, but to start with, it’s usually best to go with a handpicked piece of content to test whether Outbrain will be a lucrative marketing option for you.
You will need to optimise your content and headline before you go ahead with the campaign because Outbrain lifts the content directly from the website and it will not be able to be changed from thereon after.
You can also change your budget parameters according to how much you would like to spend on your campaign.
Of course, the more you spend on your campaign, the more clicks you are likely to receive.
Outbrain operate on a cost per click basis, so you only pay when people interact with your advertisement.
You can set your cost per click too, but the algorithms are more advanced when you raise the cost per click.
This means that even though you will be spending more on your campaign, your advertisements may be targeted more lucratively, so you could see a better return on investment.
The more cost per click you set, the more clicks you are likely to get.
There is a recommended cost per click tailored to your campaign, so to start with it is advisable to use this whilst you are getting used to the optimisation of your campaign.
Once you have run a test campaign, that is when you will need to adjust your budget.
You are also able to set your campaign dates on the initial set up of your campaign.
Outbrain have to approve your content before it goes live as an advertisement, and it may take a couple of days for you to do this, so it is important to allow for a couple of days before you will need to start the test, along with a set end date.
From there, you can also optimise the location you target for your campaign.
Depending on the type of business you run and the budget you are working with you will need to choose the locations which are best for you.
If you are working with a limited budget, it is best to focus on one location rather than many, and go from there, gradually expanding when possible.
Once you have finished optimising your campaign for all the different aspects, all you will need to do is wait for your confirmation email, and look out for your Google analytics campaign so that you can begin tracking when the campaign has started up and what the results are.
Your advertisement placements are all automated by the algorithms used by Outbrain, and according to opportunities and budget.
How to get the most out of your Outbrain campaign
If you are new to using Outbrain for your online marketing, it can be difficult to know how to make the most out of your campaign for the money you are spending.
The success of your Outbrain campaign is not guaranteed; it depends on how you optimise your resources and target your campaign.
The following are some useful tips to make sure that you really take every opportunity to optimise your campaign so that it is as lucrative as possible.
It is important to remember that it only takes one brilliant post to go viral, potentially building up you brand name dramatically and making your business a well-known household name.
But, going viral is rarely a case of just very good luck.
Instead, it is a well thought out advertisement which has been placed well, researched or appeals to a pre-existing audience.
Be it a submission to an affiliate website, getting in contact with an editor, or a large audience which has been built up previously over time, most content which goes viral starts somewhere, and unfortunately does not usually appear from thin air.
Outbrain is a great way to engineer organic social shares.
This is because Outbrain advertisements look natural, unlike Facebook and Twitter advertisements.
This means that the advertisement is seen as a post which people will ‘discover’ and are more likely to share if it is of high interest.
The key to obtaining many shares is to make sure that it is easy to share your posts.
Ensure that your Twitter and Facebook cards are on your advertisement, and that they are in the right place to be seen and to be clicked on.
Even if your post doesn’t go viral, just a few shares can up your online visibility greatly, as many more potential clients will be seeing your Outbrain advertisement.
Steer towards sign ups
People who see Outbrain advertisements are likely to be looking for content to read rather than looking to make a purchase.
What’s more, the people who reach your content via an Outbrain advertisement are likely to bounce from your website after reading your content, unless there are other enticing links presented on there.
Not to mention Outbrain have put a ban on advertising.
However, the people who are interested in your content are also likely to be interested in your company, because of course they are still your target audience.
For this reason, they may be interested in further information from your company.
For this reason, it is highly advisable to opt for getting sign ups and email addresses rather than direct conversions.
At the lower end of the spectrum, even trying to obtain likes and follows on your social media accounts form readers of you content on your Outbrain campaign so that they will be able to see your future posts on these platforms.
This strategy will be the most direct response you can get from your Outbrain campaign.
Retargeting advertisements is a form of advertising in which you target your campaign towards a very particular audience, and create advertisements which ‘follow’ people around the internet.
You can use Google analytics to fairly easily build an audience based on particular landing pages. These audiences will then be retargeted at a later date.
Research has suggested that retargeting advertisement strategies are generally cheaper and more effective than almost all other forms of paid advertisements, because they are aimed at people who have already visited your website.
The key to success for your retargeted advertisement campaign is to create a campaign that is very targeted but does not annoy your Outbrain audience.
As well as targeting your audience, you will also need to be very specific regarding what you are advertising.
This could be a complimentary product or offer, or a particular landing page, but should not be a generalised campaign.
This is because a generalised campaign will not be as effective as a more specific one.
Test your content
In order to really optimise your campaign, it is important to run tests on your content so that you know which are proving the most lucrative for your online company.
It is important to edit your content before you submit your campaign to Outbrain, because Outbrain will take your headline and content straight from the page of your website once it is submitted.
Outbrain is a relatively cheap internet marketing option, so it a good idea to test the success of each campaign and headline.
In order to do this, you should run multiple campaigns to analyse the click through rate and other details such as the amount of time which people spend on the site etc.
You can measure the lucrativeness of each campaign by the amount of time you save on the campaign and the improvements of these figures.
What content can I use for my Outbrain campaign?
Although they define content for an advertisement as any article which provides more information or entertainment regarding your online company or products and services, Outbrain have more specific guidelines than some of their competitor such as Taboola, on what they will accept as promotional content for an advertising campaign.
Outbrain has a content checking process which means that all the content which is submitted for campaigns will be checked before they go live as a campaign, and they have the right to reject any content for any reason at their own discretion.
Even if content goes live, it can then be taken down if it is decided that it’s not up to scratch.
The publisher websites also have the right to remove any articles which they wish not to appear on their web pages.
Outbrain have very specific guidelines which can be referred to when you are submitting your campaign articles.
You will not be able to use home pages or product pages, direct sale landing page, any page including adult content, or pages full of advertisements.
On a more positive note, the following are the types of content you are able to submit for your Outbrain campaign and how to optimise them for the best results:
Blogging has quickly become very popular, with millions of people getting involved with writing and following blogs every day.
Blogs are also now one of the most important aspects of any online company to attract new clients and keep existing clients interested.
A blog can keep your website looking up to date and relevant, and can draw new potential clients who are interested in your industry towards your site.
Blogging regularly also means that people are reminded that your business is still active and relevant.
Blogs can also attract a following towards your website, building up interest and encouraging interaction from your clients.
When you are writing a blog, it is important to ensure that it is relevant to your industry, interesting and offers some kind of new and original content for your target audience to read.
It is also important to ensure that you come up with a title which is appealing to your visitors and which reflects your content.
When your potential clients are surfing the internet and happen to stumble upon your Outbrain advertisement, it is highly likely that they will be looking for something entertaining that they can skim read whilst gaining some fun new knowledge or interesting tips.
For this reason, it is important to try and make your blog easy to read and interesting.
It is a good idea to create lists, such as ‘Top 10…’ or ‘7 ideas for…’, which appeal to people who are looking to skim read something easy.
When writing, make sure to use a conversational tone and first person, which will appeal to people who are looking for light reading, and will encourage people to relate to you as a person behind the business as well as a knowledgeable individual within your industry.
If people enjoy your article or get something out of it, they are more likely to return to your website, sign up and get interested in your company.
Keep your blog around the 500 word mark will be the ideal length to make sure that it provides enough basic information, but doesn’t go into too much detail and provides more entertainment than information for the readers, and they don’t get bored and go elsewhere.
An article serves the purpose of providing more in depth information on a particular topic than a blog, and unlike a blog, readers will generally be less likely to skim read and it will be more necessary for them to read the entire article for them to get the overall point of the article.
It is important to ensure that you come up with an interesting title for your article; make sure that it is clear to readers that they will be gaining some great knowledge by reading the whole thing.
The information you share with your readers in the article will need to be relevant to the industry of your website, and original, so that your clients gain information which they are not likely to receive anywhere else.
You will need to write in a slightly more formal tone than your blog, but still keep the language simple because it is likely that your target audience will be put off by industry related jargon which they may not understand.
Whilst the language is simple, the purpose of an article is to go into more depth about a particular topic, and you will therefore need to ascertain a certain amount of authority so that your clients get to know you to be a specialist within your industry.
This will build up trust between you and your readers, who are more likely to be interested in your company and sign up for receiving more information.
Every hour, thousands of online videos are uploaded, watched and shared and they are becoming a great method of marketing for companies which want to expand their horizons.
Videos are a great way of enticing your clients and really getting them interested in your company, as well as the products and services which you can provide them with.
They are a great opportunity to really show any potential clients what you are really about and let them know that you are on the top of your game.
Videos are also a great way to capture peoples’ interests, with music, images and recordings all able to be intertwined into one representation of your company.
Videos also inspire people to stay on the website longer and get a real feel for your company values and industry.
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Press coverage is a type of earned media which is great to advertise via an outbrain campaign.
Research has shown that earned media is one of the most lucrative forms of advertising because potential clients are more likely to trust it, because it comes from another source other than payment.
Earned media is more likely to be regarded as a vote of confidence from another trusted source, and people who see your Outbrain advertisement promoting your press coverage are more likely to see this as a good review rather than as an annoying advert.
Press coverage is a great way of gaining the interest of potential clients through your Outbrain campaign.
This is because they are likely to be enticed by an intriguing headline and they are more likely to be impressed by the perceived popularity of your company.
Press coverage also means that your company will look more authoritative to people who see it, because positive news will reflect success and interest, instilling a sense of trust from your target audience and encouraging them to use your services.
3rd party reviews
When people are trying to find a new company to provide them with the products and services they are looking for, they often look to others who have experienced the company first hand to make a decision.
On a link, people are looking for trustworthy sources to heighten their opinion of the company rather than the company blowing their own trumpet.
For this reason, 3rd party reviews are a must have for any good Outbrain campaign.
Many people write and make video reviews to earn money, to help others and to talk about their interests in products and services for other people, so it is important to remember that these reviews will come in many different forms to draw attention to your company.
A genuine 3rd party review will make your company look impressive, and people are also likely to become interested in the products themselves, and could follow links to your website or social media pages for more information.
A good genuine review can speak volumes about a company, and can often be worth ten time more than the words of the company themselves.
How to write a headline for your Outbrain campaign
Your headlines will be taken straight from the articles you provide, so it is highly important to edit your titles before you submit them as part of your campaign.
The headline will be one of the first things that a potential client will see when they first clap eyes on your Outbrain advertisement, and for this reason it is highly important to make sure that it is engaging and interesting, enticing potential clients to click on your content.
One of the most important things to remember regarding your title is to make it interesting but simple, so that it appeals to as many people in your target audience as possible.
It is also important to ensure that the title makes the content appear that it will be easy to read for your visitors so that they are more enticed to click and read.
Research suggests that reading from a screen is more tiring and draining for the readers, and for that reason reading takes more time.
When reading content online, most people will be looking for articles which are easy to read or can be skim read, and are entertaining or informative.
Titles which suggest lists, numbers, digit, infographics and the use of other forms of media will be most appealing for your clients.
With so much content to compete with, it is important to make sure that your Outbrain content is original and unique, providing information which cannot be seen elsewhere and which stands out in the crowd.
When people surf the internet, they are generally cynical about advertisements, and are somewhat reluctant to trust some sites.
Luckily, Outbrain advertisements are surreptitious; they look like a piece of content which has been suggested to you by the website a reader is currently on, and are more likely to be trusted by your readers.
Despite the way in which the advertisements have been laid out, it is important to note that it is your job to make sure that both the headline and the content are also equally trustworthy looking.
You will need to make sure that the headline you compose really reflects what your content is all about, so that people who see the Outbrain advertisement know what they are clicking on before they do so, and your content is being presented in the most accurate way possible.
When composing your headlines, make sure that they are very specific to the content you are linking to. You will need to make each piece of content individual, and the titles need to reflect this too.
How to choose images for your Outbrain advertisements
Plenty of research has suggested that images get clicks; they draw attention from your target audience, so they are very important for the success of your Outbrain campaign.
Research has shown that adding images to your campaign will increase the click through rate by 27%, and that thumbnail images work better than logos.
Outbrain give you the chance to select, upload and swap pictures on your campaign so that you can run tests of trial and error to ensure that you are picking the most lucrative images for the success of your campaign.
However, just picking any old images are not likely to really gain you much in the way of success. You will need to choose your images carefully to ensure the optimum results from your campaign.
One of the primary requirements for making sure your images are correct is to ensure that the picture you choose is relevant to the content in your Outbrain link.
Ensure that they image you select reflects the topic your content is about, the style of writing you are going for and the tone of your content.
It is also important to ensure that your images are clear and grab attention from your target audience.
An image which is not legible will put people off, but one which is clear will be enticing and will instil a sense of trustworthiness.
In the same way, it is also important to make sure that you pick an image which is bold and has readable sized text.
In terms of Outbrain, the required image size will be 400 x 400, so it is best to opt for this size of image to ensure that they are not cropped incorrectly when they appear on the Outbrain advertisement.
Research has suggested that images of peoples’ faces have the best response from audiences, as they can evoke and reflect emotion and can create a sense of trust for the audience.
Change any generic icons for pictures of people, be it a person modelling the products or just a face which reflects the emotion you would like to present to your target audience.
When you are choosing your images for your Outbrain campaign, it is a good idea to use trial and error to experiment with your campaign and see which images gain the best results for you.
You can conduct A/B experiments to decipher which photos work best, keeping track of click through rates from your clients via your analytics.
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